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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  March 5, 2011 7:30am-8:00am EST

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in the high stakes budget. scott walker sent letters to 13 public employee unions warning of layoffs as early as april. the layoffs could be avoided if, if 14 democrats return to madison to debate a controversial budget bill. greg louganis was perfection on the spring board. his life since then has been anything but perfect. what's he been up to? dr. sanjay gupta catches up with the olympic star. it starts now. hello and welcome. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. identical twins. one got cancer and one did not. their story changed the history of cancer treatment. greg louganis, remember him. olympic medalist winner. we are going to talk to him about his challenge. plus, the human factor.
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this man preserves the lives of big cats. he cured himself by talking to the jaguars. let's get started. you may not know this, but cancer will strike down one in four americans. many will tell you we are losing the war on cancer. i want to tell you how far we have come. at the end of world war ii, doctors had few weapons against cancer. you could blast it out, but there was no medicine. one day in 1947, a 2-year-old boy came to the doors of a children's hospital in boston. robert sandler has leukemia. it broke through his bones. his twin watched the ambulance take him away.
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back then, it meant death in weeks or months. a doctor was on to something. a magic potion that was the first chemotherapy drug. robert sandler was in the first group to receive it. her is his mother 50 years later in a family video. >> every day to the hospital by streetcar, by bus. we didn't have a car. >> imagine the jubilation when it worked. within weeks, robert was back on his feet and with the family. christmas, 1948, still doing well. but it didn't last. >> he had one month to go before he died. >> he died in the summer of 1949. nearly two years after cancer struck, the scientific triumph that never did trump a family's pain. >> that's my bad memories of losing my son. after having him declared cure. because they used him as a
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guinea pig. >> i first heard the story from a cancer specialist in new york who wrote a magnificent book. it's called "the emperor of all maladies." this is quite an under taking for you. what prompted it? >> it was a question that kept coming back to me when i was in training in cancer medicine. my patients kept coming back to me and asking this question, what is it that we are battling? what is the form? when did it start? what is the origin. one woman asked moe, i'm willing to go on, but i want to know what is cancer and what its story is. >> at that time, what did you tell her? >> my first impression was to tell her cancer is not one disease, but a family of
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diseases. there are different incarnations of it. yet, it's undeniable there's a parallel that runs through the diseases. cancer is the abnormal growth of cells. cells that can't stop growing. >> sometimes in television, it's hard to get editors and producers to buy into a story about something like cancer or hiv aids or something they think the audience is not going to find palatablpalatable. what was the reception when you decided to write it? >> the publishers were unbelievably receptive. one in two men and one in three women in america will face the disease personally directly. it's a fascinating thing. it's something that is going to affect each and every one of our lives. yet you know so little about it. >> why is that? >> i think there's a reaction.
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a lot of denial. we don't want to hear it. it's the big "c." i told a story of a breast cancer advocate in the 1950s who calls up "the new york times" and says you know, i would like to place an advertisement for survivors of breast cancer. the times gets on the phone and says we can't print the word breast and cancer in "the new york times." what if it's diseases of the chest? this is the 1950s. today, you can't open a paper without seeing cancer. >> you decided to dedicate the book to a boy. how did that come about? >> i became obsessed in writing the book and finding the stories of patients, historical patients. one was who was the first kid treated for leukemia by
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siddartha mukherjee. someone referred me and kept a log. so his name turned out to be robert sandler. >> yes. it was r.s. >> exactly. it was called r.s. in the paper. it ruz robert sandler. he cut out a picture in india and kept it. then i dedicated him. i found out where he lived using the phone book, went to his house but everything changed. two weeks after the book is published, i get a phone call from his twin brother, elliott sandler. he was moved to tears. he said i didn't know the book was written. i opened the book and saw a picture of myself and my twin brother. it was a journey finishing for me. an incredible story.
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coming up, we tracked down elliott as well. you are going to see him 60 years later. he has remarkable memories of what happened in those days. the book was still a revelation for him. we are going to meet one of the greatest athletes of all time. greg louganis doing something he wouldn't let himself do for two decades.
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welcome back to "sgmd." i have been talking to dr.
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siddartha mukherjee. we decided to bring him back for a second round. joining me from new york elliott sandler and dr. mukherjee. did you know throughout your life your brother's role in history? >> i had no idea until actually recently until the book came out. i had no idea. >> you dedicated the book to robert sandler. there's a lot of patients in your book, you told their stories. why robert in particular? >> he was part of the first group of children to be treated by chemotherapy in 1947. he had a brief response to the drug and relapsed and died after it. what's amazing about the story is by adding more combinations of the same kinds of drugs, eventually, this disease that
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robert had became 80% curable by the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. it was this victory that prop propelled the idea that cancer could be curable. it was a beacon of hope. richard nixon was really acknowledged in some sense, the fact this victory occurred. robert is an iconic patient. >> elliott, as the doctor is explaining this, obviously you were twin brothers. you were very, very young. do you remember anything of those times? >> yes. surprisingly so. the things he was dead on in the book. absolutely, i remember the hospital. i remember the hospital wards. they didn't have curtains as we know them today. they put up four curtains around the bed so you wouldn't see the patient in the pain. i can remember the nights my
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mother used to hold my brother and ro him because he was in so much pain. we were close. i would try to keep him from crying and make him happy. i remember a lot of things as if they were yesterday. remember being in the train going to the hospital. take a trolly, then the elevator, which is actually a train. my mother got in the front car. she set my brother and i up to watch the train tracks go back. i'll never forget the clicketty clack of the track. >> he's the one who got cancer. did you ever think, as his twin brother why me or why not me? >> oh. i very rarely do the what if, could have, would have or should have except in this one instance. all of my life, all of my life, i wondered why him and not me?
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in fact, when i first talked to sid here, i asked him why him and not me. what was special? he told me it was a cell that went crazy. what if he had been alive, would he be my best friend? what would we have done? we were identical. >> it's incredible to think about. it's such a unique experience. i appreciate you sharing and taking time to share that with us and our audience. dr. myrrh her gukherjee, it's a book. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. remember greg louganis? people who watched the sport
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said he was perfect. his life away from the pool was anything put. there's a new twist in his story. we are going to ask him about it. that's next. stay with us. she felt lost... until the combination of three good probiotics in phillips' colon health defended against the bad gas, diarrhea and constipation. ...and? it helped balance her colon. oh, now that's the best part. i love your work. [ female announcer ] phillips' colon health. aren't getting the calcium they need. but yoplait wants to change that. only yoplait original has twice the calcium
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we are back with "sgmd." there aren't many athletes that have come close to perfecting their sport than greg louganis. grace, power, you name it. there were bumps along the way. in the '88 games he hit his head. he hit it hard. 38 stitches later. he had hiv. he kept it from his closest friends. he told the world he was gay and had been abused. now, he's sharing a part of himself he's never shared
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before. take a look. >> two more minutes. five, four, three, two, one. ah. >> the reason why i got into coaching is i felt that i had something to offer. reach back. >> when my mom told me he was an olympic diver, i was excited. >> one thing i benefit from greg is he's good at helping you with the mental aspect of diving. >> at 3 years old, that was my first performance. it took five tries. the fourth try i got it. there was a slight hesitation. i went back for the fifth time.
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i don't miss competing because that's not really who i was. you know, i was a performer first. i miss performing but, you know, in coaching you have to be a performer, too. >> joining me from fullerton, california is greg louganis. welcome to the show. great to see you. >> great to see you. >> how are you? >> things are going really well. doing really well, pretty healthy. >> i know you have been busy. you were, people always marvelled at the fact you were away from the sport for 15 years or so. why are you back now? >> well, the high performance director of usa diving met with me last year and said how do we get you back into diving. i said ask. he said you have never been asked? i said no, i haven't been around diving for close to 20 years
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now. >> you said you wouldn't coach, now you are coaching. people look at you and say he was the greatest diver. is that something you can teach? is it frustrating to teach somebody when you were at the level you were? >> when i was diving, if i went right into coaching after i retired from diving, i think i would then i started training dogs. they listen, give you unconditional love. they're great, you know. but i needed that time in training dogs for, you know, dog agility, competing on a national level, and the patience and just learning about behavior, learning about structure, learning about movement. >> right. >> and it's been a great process. now i can bring all of those experiences into -- into coaching diving, which has been a wonderful journey. >> people say the perfect ten. and i will just tell you honestly. i've always been a big admirer
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of yours. and i always watch the olympics, but to say you're the best, you got the best score you could possibly get. did you feel the weight of that? did you feel perfect when you emerged from the pool? >> no, absolutely not. perfection is something to strive for, but it's never obtained. even at the 1982 world championships, i did a 1 1/2, got straight tens across the board. that dive today might get 9 1/2s, but you're always striving. it's always changing, evolving. the technology is getting better, the awareness is getting better. so i was never ever satisfied with my performance. it was always moving forward and trying to do better than you did before. >> that's great advice. very inspiring. you have many olympic medals. i'm just curious, where do you put them? where do you have them in your house? >> well, i gave one of my olympic medals to jeannie white,
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ryan white's mother, the young boy who died of aids. and i gave -- because he was my inspiration, my buddy in '88. i wanted to share that olympic experience with him. and they wouldn't allow him into the country in 1988 because of his hiv status. but when i hit my head on the board, he was my inspiration to get through. i knew i would have to fight through that competition in order to be success ful. >> thanks for sharing that, greg. people are excited to see you after so many years. thanks for being on the show. >> sure, my pleasure. >> absolutely fascinating guy. recently on the show, we introduced you to our new six pack, the six-person team of viewers. today we've got an update on nina lovel. take a listen. she's the oldest member of the 2011 six pack, but don't let
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that fool you. nina lovel has the energy of a woman decades younger. >> you're on the record as saying 58 is the new 28. >> 58 is the new 28. >> and people always say 60 is the new 30 or 40. you really feel that way? you're embracing that? >> absolutely. >> what does that mean? >> it means that i want to feel better and better the older i get. you can tell by my license plate frame how excited i am about this triathlon. >> what i want you to focus in on this time is a little stronger press on your chest that's going to pick your hips up a little bit and get your heels closer to the surface of the water. >> the coach has nina swim different drills. she works on keeping her breathing regular. >> i'm convinced i can do it, but i'm a long way. i know i have my work cut out for me to be able to complete it. but i think i can. but it's not in the bag. not in the bag yet.
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we're going to continue with the theme of people overcoming odds. a big cat expert who overcame his severe stuttering by talking to animals. ♪
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four oscars. and it put the spotlight on stuttering. today we decided to show you an extraordinary story. a young boy growing up with a stutter who found a remarkable way to cure it. take a look. >> you're looking at the jaguar. few people are as familiar with the animal's fate than this man. >> 60% of their habitat is gone. they still range throughout 18 countries, but they're killed on-site. his mission, to save the jaguar and its peers. >> we felt strongly that their -- and i couldn't speak. it was so severe that i would get these very intense blocks,
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and my mouth would freeze up, went to something called frozen mouth. >> that is until he started talking to animals. >> i could not talk to the adult world because there was too much education put on me, too much impatience. but when i turned to the anim s animals, i could speak. >> reporter: experts say between 70% and 80% of children who stutter will recover spontaneously. for the minority that don't, becoming what's known as a fluent speaker takes various therapies. >> you have to focus on -- are you consciously thinking about it as you're talking to me? >> yes, not as much as i used to have to do. >> reporter: his therapy was the jaguar. >> once i found those big cats and found these big powerful animals locked inside of their cages, locked unable to get out, i felt that was like me. so i

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